Williams faces 82 new charges over break-ins
Thefts reportedly targeted women’s lingerie
Linda Nguyen, Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, April 30, 2010
Colonel Russell Williams, the former top commander at CFB Trenton, faces a number of new break-and-enter charges. He also faces two charges of first-degree murder.
The former commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, who is facing two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of sexual assault, was hit with 82 additional charges yesterday by the Ontario Provincial Police.
The new charges — for break-and-enter, theft and attempted break-and-enter — came amid media reports that Colonel Russell Williams has reached an agreement in principle with the prosecution that would see him plead guilty to all the charges against him.
Col. Williams is accused of killing Corporal Marie-France Comeau, 37, a military flight attendant from Brighton and Jessica Lloyd, 27, of Belleville.
He also faces sexual assault charges linked to two home invasions in Tweed. In those cases, he is accused of blindfolding the women, tying them naked to their chairs, photographing and sexually assaulting them.
Yesterday, the OPP alleged the 47-year-old air force colonel broke into multiple homes in Eastern Ontario, including that of one of the women he is accused of later killing and the residence of another women he allegedly sexually assaulted.
Some of the homes were broken into repeatedly over a number of days, others over a period of a few months, with all the break-ins happening over a three-year period.
They occurred in Ottawa, Belleville, Brighton and Tweed — places located within a few kilometres of where Col. Williams had lived or worked.
In all, there are 46 counts in Tweed, 34 counts in Ottawa and two counts in Belleville.
Police would not confirm what was taken during these burglaries, but earlier reports indicated the break-ins targeted women’s lingerie. One woman in Ottawa told Global News that her lingerie was stolen during a break-in last November, when her daughter was house-sitting. By the time police arrived, they found a smashed side door but no sign of a suspect. Another woman in Tweed, a heavily wooded town where Col. Williams owned a cottage, said her house had been burglarized a number of times in the past few years. And even though she never figured out what was stolen, the experiences shook her up enough to buy a large guard dog.
Yesterday, Col. Williams made his third court appearance in Belleville. A packed courtroom, with some observers forced to stand, watched as the colonel, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, appeared on a TV screen from the Quinte Detention Centre, where he has been in custody since his arrest on Feb. 7. Through his legal counsel, he requested that the new charges against him not be read aloud in court, but did not give a reason why. The judge complied with the request.
Col. Williams has not entered a plea on any of the charges and the case has been adjourned until June 24.
Lieutenant-Colonel Tony O’Keeffe attended the proceedings yesterday, representing the Canadian Forces.
Lt.-Col. O’Keeffe, who has known Col. Williams for years, said he had visited him in jail 10 days ago but did not ask him about the hunger strike or reported suicide attempt he made during the Easter weekend.
“I think he’s getting better,” he told the crowd of media outside the courtroom. “I think time, I guess, cures all. He looks better to me.”
A local newspaper reported earlier this month that the colonel had been placed under 24-hour suicide watch following a failed attempt to take his life.
TheKingstonWhig-Standard reported that Col. Williams tried to kill himself by jamming a toilet paper roll stuffed with cardboard down his throat. Cardboard and foil were found jammed in the cell door in an effort to stop staff from entering during the attempt. He had also reportedly written a suicide note in mustard on the wall.
Col. Williams had reportedly gone on a hunger strike and was acting like a prisoner of war, responding only to questions by authorities with his name, rank and serial number.
It was recently discovered he is still collecting his military salary, pending a possible plea or outcome of the trial. The money will have to be paid back if he is found guilty of the alleged crimes.